FIRE at 42 Remsen Street!



There was a huge fire at 42 Remsen Street — a 3 story brownstone — where no less than 6 firetrucks were called to contain the blaze. Brooklynheightsblog was on the scene with grainy photos and no press pass. We hope no one was home at the time, and we pray no one was seriously hurt. UPDATE: Apparently this is the same building that was on fire during Thanksgiving last year, see below for details. In the aftermath of the blaze it looked like all floors of this building were affected by the blaze, and we noticed in particular that the firemen were concentrating on the 3rd floor when we arrived. We will provide details as further events warrant, but if anyone knows anything about this incident or the building, please comment below or email us. 

UPDATE: Jo Ann emailed us:

This same apartment had a fire on Thanksgiving weekend.  Apparently there is a not so right in the head woman living there who collects a lot of paper and garbage.  The word back in November was that stacks of newspaper stored on or near her stove had caught fire.  The family that lives on the ground and parlor floors, who financed the rebuilding of the outside staircase which won them building a Heights Assn award a few years back and had a very, very nice apartment were understandably beside themselves.  I believe they suffered a lot of water damage then, and I don't even think that they had moved back in yet.  This obviously is much worse – it looks like the building may need to be gutted.  I live a few doors down, and I hope this will get the woman out of here – before she burns the whole block down.  They said she was seen outside the building during the fire, and there was no ambulance action, so I believe there were no injuries.

And Marc Hermann:

Tonight's fire at 42 Remsen St. was a replay of another that occurred on November 25th of last year. At both incidents, the fire started in the top floor apartment. The occupant still had plywood boards up in the windows, and firefighters were faced with the same "Collyers' Mansion" conditions they were in November. This time, a two-alarm response was required to get a hold on the fire.

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  • M. Hermann

    No…your 3 a.m. wake-up at Prospect Park was a fire that took out the top floor of 108 5th Av. at Baltic St. That fire, which was much bigger in scope and damage than the one on Remsen St., was amazingly brought under control with a one-alarm response.

    It is VERY unusual for FDNY incident commanders to not transmit a second alarm when fire is blowing out of several (in this case, at least NINE windows) — let alone when the roof collapses.

    In both cases, the “brothers” did a swell job.

  • nosy nancy

    Don’t know if the old lady was home, but the family who own the building are on vacation (kids at Packer) and they’re away … gotta SUCK to lose your home while you’re enjoying a vacation, huh?

  • M. Hermann

    She was home, got out OK, had words with the Battalion Chief when the operation was winding down.

  • M. Hermann

    Baltic & 5th: Fire was initially visible on the interior of the top floor of a three-story building. Everyone apparently got out of that floor quickly, but there were people at the windows on the 2nd floor. A civilian, who was on his cell phone with 911, shouted at these people to exit the building.

    Some of the same companies that had operated at Remsen St. were on the front lines at 5th & Baltic, too—Battalion Chief Cuccurullo of Battalion 31 and Deputy Chief Mandala of Division 11 assumed command of both fires—including Tower Ladder 105, whose members went to work venting the building’s windows from the exterior. Before long, the roof collapsed and fire was blowing out of nine windows in the front, side, and rear of the structure. The Lieutenant of Engine 219 had his helmet knocked off his head, but he escaped injury.

    What appeared to be cracks in the building’s walls caused fear of an imminent collapse, but it proved to be only in the brickface facade, and did not affect the actual structural stability.

    It was almost two hours before the incident was declared under control. The B63 bus, naturally, had to be re-routed for a few blocks. Fire Marshals are investigating what caused the fire, and the Board of Health responded to handle the Chinese restaurant on the ground floor, while Red Cross representatives tended to the needs of displaced residents.

    I have lots of photos, but want to wait to see what, if anything, the Daily News or the Eagle run of mine before I post a link.

  • webster

    Spotted elsewhere, Brit In Brooklyn has a few pics:

  • webster

    Actually, he has those pics and a few more here:

  • anon

    A few photos from the 42 Remsen fire taken between 7:30pm – 8:30pm, March 27th.

  • M. Hermann

    Uploaded some of my photos from the 5th Av./Baltic St. fire here:

  • anon

    The Brooklyn Eagle had a story about the Remsen Street Fire–filled with errors. It’s a Co-Op with three owners. The older lady is one of the owners. Her place is on the 3rd floor (looks like the fourth floor if you include the garden floor). There’s another apartment on the fourth floor, but it faces the back, so you can’t see it. Both fires were in her apartment on the third floor. The other owners have had a heck of a time trying to get her out. Hard to do since she’s also an owner. Everyone else had pretty much moved out in November after the first fire. They had only just begun renovations to make the place liveable again.